A disagreement over funding for Planned Parenthood is delaying Biden’s SBA appointment.
According to the Associated Press, Senate Republicans have twice blocked President Joe Biden’s choice for deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, citing concerns about COVID-19 relief money intended by the SBA for Planned Parenthood offices around the country.
If Dilawar Syed is confirmed for the SBA position, he will be the US government’s highest-ranking Muslim official. Despite Biden’s continuous support for Syed, the inability of Republicans to show up for committee votes on his confirmation has put his nomination in peril, according to the Associated Press.
Some Democrats have alleged anti-Muslim bigotry in those seeking to prevent Syed’s confirmation, while Muslim and Jewish organizations have denounced the failures. The Republicans’ stalling, according to Rabbi Jack Moline of the Interfaith Alliance, is a “excuse for a number of issues that have nothing to do with appropriateness for the office.” “Because Mr. Syed isn’t in charge of those monies, his nomination is being held hostage by a policy issue over which he has no say or power,” Moline said.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Democrats and the White House claim that Republican senators have given contradictory justifications for their blockade, and that the delay in staffing the SBA will hamper assistance to small-business owners attempting to recover from the pandemic.
Syed was nominated by the White House in March, but the Senate Small Business Committee has been unable to move the nomination forward due to Republicans’ persistent failure to show up for votes. The delay is the result of many Republican complaints, including Syed’s association with a Muslim advocacy group, small-business loans he received, and the agency’s loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates.
The manner in which the disagreement will be resolved is unknown.
Republicans on the committee have issued a joint statement claiming that the money given to Planned Parenthood was “unjustly allowed,” and that they will not vote on the nomination “unless the SBA takes steps to reclaim the wrongfully received PPP funds by Planned Parenthood organizations.”
Democrats claim the loans were legitimate and within the agency’s guidelines, and they point out that some conservative groups also received funds.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) attempted to skip the committee and request a vote on the Senate floor at the end of September. This is a condensed version of the information.